Estonia is gearing up to become a global hub for DeepTech startups by accelerating the development of research- and technology-intensive entrepreneurship. Startup Estonia and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications have prepared an action plan to create a supportive economic environment for the DeepTech industry.
Gearing up for innovation wave
The plan aims to double the number of DeepTech projects by 2025 and increase it five times by 2030. This way, by the start of the next decade, the country should have more than 500 startups. More importantly, 75 of them should reach the scale-up status, employing more than 50 specialists in Estonia and contributing over €1M in labour taxes yearly.
To support this expansion, capital allocations should increase drastically too. Last year, Estonian DeepTech companies attracted €175M across 15 transactions, which equates to 13% of all venture capital investments allocated. The goal is to reach a 30% mark.
Estonia has a strong international reputation for its startup ecosystem. However, there are still many challenges to address, such as ensuring access to top-level talent and deepening cooperation with universities to develop necessary competencies. Additionally, it is necessary to improve the availability of investments for high-tech enterprises and keep legislation flexible.
Working towards a common goal
Currently, there are 1,447 startups in Estonia, out of which 119 registered deep technology as their field of activity. Some of the well-known successes include Starship Technologies, Milrem Robotics, Comodule, and LightCode Photonics. The latter is the prime example of productive cooperation between the public and private sectors, as the company has stemmed from a research project at the University of Tartu.
“Tomorrow’s success stories result from long preparations, implementers’ efforts and investments – thus, it is particularly crucial for researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, universities and research institutions to work together towards a common goal,” notes Mart Maasik, Head of the University of Tartu Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The action plan lays down an array of policies and supportive measures that focuses on founders, employees, the IP environment, and the capital market. The document, which is available (in Estonian) here, should serve as a tool for startup entrepreneurs and researchers looking for business models, as well as support organisations, universities, research institutions, investors, private and venture capital funds and the public sector.
There’s also an oversight mechanism in place. The implementation of the Action Plan will be monitored through annual objectives and yearly meetings between core partners of the initiative.
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